How I got where I am today: Margaret Waldron
What did you want to be when you were young?
Owning my own business was never actually my end goal – and neither was working in property or law. As a child, I actually wanted to be a cowgirl. Now I content myself with being a country music fan.
What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
I’ve had a diverse career history. After studying languages at university I dabbled in banking, completed my secretarial studies and fine-tuned my organisational skills as a personal assistant. I then merged family life and work by qualifying as a playgroup supervisor. In my mid-thirties, I challenged myself with a degree and by 43 was a qualified solicitor.
It has to be poor customer service. I’d forgive my team for any errors they make; big or small, because mistakes happen. But to know someone made a client feel as if we weren’t interested would be the ultimate disappointment. Fortunately I’m completely confident that this won’t happen with my fabulous team; client care is the one thing that means more than anything else at The Law Practice. Lots of people say they’re focused on providing the best personal service for clients but our feedback from those we’ve looked after shows that we really do it.
Who's been your greatest influence?
I’ve got a strong faith and that’s always inspired me. I believe you should do the very best you can for people. In addition, the varieties of business people I’ve met along the way have been hugely influential. I didn’t know much about business when I started. But in 2005, hand-in-hand with launching The Law Practice, I started networking. I made great contacts and was very fortunate that they tried us out, liked the service and recommended it.
What do you want to achieve in the rest of your career?
I want to see The Law Practice develop into an even greater brand; a tangible package that underpins the philosophy I set out with. To compete in this market it’s essential to be slick, modern and think about different avenues from which to draw in business. But there’s always a place for good service, personal contact and people knowing you care. Buying a property is one of the most important purchases in life and people like buying from people. Looking further ahead, I won’t be working forever and, eventually, will gradually have to bow out. My dream is to have like-minded people step in and continue the brand I’m building.
What's your idea of the perfect retirement?
I envisage my retirement being travel-filled, using my freedom to see as many more parts of the world as I can, whether hidden gems in Scotland or more exotic destinations. I’d love to have a motor home, get up on a Monday morning and pick somewhere on the map to head to.
What would your autobiography be called?
‘A big promise, we know’. It’s the second part of our tagline; a response to the statement that ‘we believe we do law and estate agency in a different way’. I really do see The Law Practice as different from the stereotypical solicitor image, fusing traditional, trusted values with a fresh, energetic approach. We have real excitement about our clients’ successes, a long-established tradition of ‘Cake Friday’ and a strictly optional attitude to stuffy suits. It’s not all about the numbers here.
Your favourite stress-buster?
I’m a bit of a bookworm and love to lose myself in a thriller. For something more active, I go to as many live music gigs as possible; a fabulous way to de-stress.
What's your best career advice?
Trust your instinct. I’m a huge advocate of decision-making by ‘gut-feel’. Only on a very rare occasion have I gone with it and been wrong. But when I’ve ignored my gut feel and been influenced by others, it just doesn’t work.